Bearden set for Maryville rematch in opening round of playoffs

Litza Craig

Bearden will come into the playoffs as the underdogs on Friday, as they go up against undefeated and defending state champion Maryville. The Bulldogs (5-5, 3-4) closed out their regular season games last Friday night by losing to Catholic 20-0. This week will bring a sense of deja vu for the Bulldogs, as this will not only be Bearden’s second time this season playing against Maryville (10-0, 7-0), but also the second year in row they will have faced the Rebels. The Dogs lost to the Rebels 52-20 in last season’s state quarterfinals. However, their game plan will not change too much. “You know we’ll have a couple things that we will try,” Bearden coach Brad Taylor said. “We’ll have a few new things, but bottom line is you still got to be able to be successful; you know for what your signature is whether that is running power for us or whatever.” Although not much will change in Bearden’s style of play, Coach Taylor did say that they will add a few wrinkles to try to keep Maryville guessing. “The thing is with Maryville obviously they are a good football team,” Coach Taylor said. “And they know how to kind of turn it up a little bit when it comes playoff time. So it will be a better Maryville team than we faced the first.” Maryville has been led by three-star quarterback, Patton Robinette, who has committed to play for the University of North Carolina next fall. The Bulldogs will look to confuse him. “On defense, we are going to give them a lot of looks, and we are not going to stay in one front for more than probably two plays,” senior running-back/linebacker Will Burns said. “We’re just going to keep them guessing and keep them on their toes.” Coming off of a tough loss and perhaps a tougher season, the Bulldogs’ mindset will be crucial for the game. “We got nothing to lose; nobody expects anything of us,” Bearden quarterback Nicky Frizen said. “We’re the eighth seed and they’re the one seed. They’re undefeated; so we’re just going to go out and give it everything we got and play as hard as we can and hopefully move on to the next round.” Haney’s back: Leading rusher Josh Haney will return after missing last week’s loss to Catholic with a concussion that he suffered against West. Haney, a senior captain, has 921 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on the year.